CREDIT CARD CONTROLS

The results of a recent survey conducted by the Environics Research
Group reveal that 82% of Canadians want tighter rules imposed on the
credit card industry. Of those, 51% of respondents said they
strongly support tighter rules for the credit card companies in terms of
how they treat both card-holders and merchants and 31% are somewhat
supportive while 6% are strongly opposed and 8%
somewhat opposed to the idea.

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Pew Releases its Safe Credit Cards Project

The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Safe Credit Cards Project has released a set
of standards designed to prevent deceptive credit card practices and
enact legislation. Pew’s research identified a number of unsafe and
deceptive practices that are widespread and in need of immediate reform.
The standards seek to ensure that cardholders are charged only the
interest rates they agreed to pay; fees are imposed responsibly and in a
transparent fashion;cardholders have sufficient time to review and pay
their bills; and interest is not charged on balances cardholders have
already paid. The Pew Safe Credit Cards Project develops and
promotes standards for consumer-friendly credit cards to help ensure the
financial security of all Americans and developed the Standards in
partnership with the Sandler Foundation.

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JCBI COO

JCB International has named Koremitsu Sannomiya as President and Chief Operating Officer. Sannomiya succeeds Kenji Seto, who has served in the position since June 2007. Sannomiya had held a number of key positions, including Executive Vice President since 2000, providing visionary leadership in key areas and vital issues: corporate planning, supervising JCB’s Next Generation System migration project, and developing emerging markets such as small value and utility payment. Prior to his appointment as President and Chief Operating Officer at JCBI, he served as Board Member, Executive Officer, and Head of Strategic Market Development Headquarters Division at JCB, where he helped to substantially expand the horizon of the credit card payment market in Japan by marketing new solutions and services, including widening the small value market with the QUICPay(TM) contactless smart card payment solution, and undertaking Eco-Action-Point program platform operations on behalf of Japan’s Ministry of the Environment.

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E-ID & NIC

Digital security provider Gemalto will deliver electronic ID cards to Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Interior
National Information Center. Gemalto will provide NIC with e-ID cards for the next three years,
as well as support and maintenance for the centralized personalization
center in Riyadh. The Saudi Arabia national ID card is a wallet-sized card that embeds a
microprocessor containing the cardholder’s digital information such as
demographics, facial image and fingerprints. It also features a bar code
and an optical stripe to ensure enhanced security to citizens. The
national ID card can be used as a travel document that facilitates
legitimate travel within all GCC countries. In addition, the e-ID card
offers strong authentication to enable citizens to prove their identity.
Digital signature is also available through a Public Key Infrastructure
application. The national ID card is mandatory for all citizens
above 15 and valid for ten years.

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PPI SURVEY

A new report reveals that 2.6 million credit card users plan to credit
more this year to pay household bills.
Lobbyists for Payment Protection Insurance are advocating the purchase
of insurance to cover card payment in instances where card holders
become unemployed and cannot make minimum
monthly payments. Premiums for PPI are calculated per GBP100 of benefit
and purchasers can
decide whether they want policy payments to meet their mortgage, loan or
wider household commitments. There are options for accident, sickness
and unemployment cover and specialist independent firms such as
Burgesses and British Insurance are widely recognised as offering
premiums that are far more affordable than higher-priced credit providers.

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Sallie Mae and BofA Offer New Upromise MasterCards

Upromise, Sallie Mae’s saving for college company, and Bank of America
have introduced the “Upromise World MasterCard” credit card with “Gas &
Grocery Rewards” and the “Upromise World MasterCard” credit card with
“Dining & Grocery Rewards.” For a limited time, the Upromise card
programs provide new cardholders with $25 in their Upromise account
after the first qualified use of the card. The credit card with “Gas &
Grocery Rewards” offers 1% college savings on all purchases; 10% extra
college savings on thousands of Upromise participating grocery and drug
store items and 2% extra college savings on eligible gasoline purchases
at Exxon or Mobil locations. The credit card with “Dining & Grocery
Rewards” offers 1% college savings on all purchases; 10% extra college
savings on thousands of Upromise participating grocery and drug store
items; and 10% extra college savings on purchases at “Upromise Dining by
Rewards Network” restaurants.

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CHARGE Anywhere Integrates with QuickBooks

Secure POS provider CHARGE Anywhere smartphone payment application can
now integrate with QuickBooks. Mobile merchants are
able to process transactions in the field and have those same
transactions created and applied to the correct customers or invoices in
QuickBooks with no additional
data entry required. When transactions are automatically imported into
QuickBooks, all transactions that are marked with an invoice, customer,
or clerk number at the
time of payment and will automatically be applied to the correct
account. This feature will be available on CHARGE Anywhere’s Mobile
Payment Applications for BlackBerry OS, Windows Mobile, and J2ME.

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Fiserv Names a New EVP

Fiserv has hired Lance Drummond, previously with Bank of America, to
serve as EVP. At Bank of
America he led the Online Bank and ATM Operations and managed the
largest consumer online bank in the
U.S., serving millions of active online consumers, bill payers and
mobile subscribers. He was also responsible for delivering capabilities
across the largest bank-owned network of ATMs in the country, including
the deployment of deposit image ATMs. Prior to this, Drummond was the
Service and Fulfillment Operations executive for Global Technology and
Operations, providing end-to-end operations support for all of the
bank’s customers, banking centers and 18,000 ATMs. His team’s
responsibilities included image, ACH, EDI and check processing, lockbox
services, ATM service and fulfillment, statements, cash services, card
production, and deposit services, including product compliance and
operations. Drummond earned a master’s degree in business
administration from the Simon
Business School at the University of Rochester, and a master’s degree in
management science from MIT.

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GO-TAG

INSIDE Contactless and First Data have signed a three-year agreement to develop contactless payment stickers. The product will be marketed by First Data as “GO-Tag.” With this agreement, INSIDE will supply MicroPass(R) payment sticker prelams exclusively to First Data-qualified card manufacturers for production. The agreement leverages the core technology from INSIDE Contactless and the issuing and transaction processing power of First Data. First Data will be marketing and distributing “GO-Tag” products to financial institutions, major U.S. merchants, and other distribution channels in a variety of form factors. INSIDE has delivered more than 300 million contactless platforms worldwide.

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Merchant Account Guide.com is Introduced

Following the recent collapse of credit card marketing on the the
Internet, CreditCards.com has launched Merchant Account Guide.com to
enable merchants to compare processing services. Merchant Account
Guide.com is a free resource that requires no registration for small
business owners to research, compare and apply for merchant services,
providing much-needed transparency into the pricing and disclosure of
credit card merchant processing fees. Yesterday, a former American
Express exec launched “The Merchant Maven” website to provide card
processing deals for small businesses.

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Consumer Confidence Index Levels Out

The Conference Board “Consumer Confidence Index” was flat in March. The
Index now stands at 26.0, up slightly from 25.3 in February. The
“Present Situation Index” declined to 21.5 from 22.3 last month. The
“Expectations Index” increased to 28.9 from 27.3 in February. Consumers’
assessment of overall present-day conditions remains unfavorable. Those
claiming business conditions are “bad” rose to 51.1% from 50.5%, while
those claiming business conditions are “good” edged down to 6.8% from
7.0% last month. Consumers’ short-term outlook was moderately less
negative this month. Consumers expecting business conditions will worsen
over the next six months edged down to 39.1% from 40.7%, while those
anticipating conditions to improve increased to 9.1% from 8.5% in February.

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